Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Model A320-211, -212, -214, -232 and -233 Series Airplanes and Model A321-211, -231 and -232 Series Airplanes

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

This document proposes the adoption of a new airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to certain Airbus Model A320-211, -212, -214, -232 and -233 series airplanes and Model A321-211, -231 and -232 series airplanes. This proposal would require a one-time ultrasonic inspection of certain floor crossbeams to determine if they are of nominal thickness; and a structural modification to reinforce any crossbeam that is not of nominal thickness. This action is necessary to prevent reduced structural integrity of the floor in the event of rapid depressurization or rapid vertical acceleration. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

DATES:

Comments must be received by April 16, 2004.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2002-NM-224-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056. Comments may be inspected at this location between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Comments may be submitted via fax to (425) 227-1232. Comments may also be sent via the Internet using the following address: 9-anm-nprmcomment@faa.gov. Comments sent via fax or the Internet must contain “Docket No. 2002-NM-224-AD” in the subject line and need not be submitted in triplicate. Comments sent via the Internet as attached electronic files must be formatted in Microsoft Word 97 or 2000 or ASCII text.

The service information referenced in the proposed rule may be obtained from Airbus, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France. This information may be examined at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer; International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-2125; fax (425) 227-1149.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

Interested persons are invited to participate in the making of the proposed rule by submitting such written data, views, or arguments as they may desire. Communications shall identify the Rules Docket number and be submitted in triplicate to the address specified above. All communications received on or before the closing date for comments, specified above, will be considered before taking action on the proposed rule. The proposals contained in this action may be changed in light of the comments received.

Submit comments using the following format:

  • Organize comments issue-by-issue. For example, discuss a request to change the compliance time and a request to change the service bulletin reference as two separate issues.
  • For each issue, state what specific change to the proposed AD is being requested.
  • Include justification (e.g., reasons or data) for each request.

Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of the proposed rule. All comments submitted will be available, both before and after the closing date for comments, in the Rules Docket for examination by interested persons. A report summarizing each FAA-public contact concerned with the substance of this proposal will be filed in the Rules Docket.

Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments submitted in response to this action must submit a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket Number 2002-NM-224-AD.” The postcard will be date stamped and returned to the commenter.

Availability of NPRMs

Any person may obtain a copy of this NPRM by submitting a request to the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, ANM-114, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2002-NM-224-AD, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, Washington 98055-4056.

Discussion

The Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), which is the airworthiness authority for France, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on certain Airbus Model A320-211, -212, -214, -232 and -233 series airplanes and Model A321-211, -231 and -232 series airplanes. The DGAC advises that an Airbus quality check revealed that, due to a process discrepancy during production, certain floor structural crossbeams were manufactured that were not of nominal thickness and were installed in certain airplanes before the discrepancy was discovered. This condition, if not corrected, could result in reduced Start Printed Page 12597structural integrity of the floor in the event of rapid depressurization or rapid vertical acceleration.

Explanation of Relevant Service Information

Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A320-53A1162, including Appendix 01 and Appendix 02, dated June 25, 2002, which describes procedures for a one-time ultrasonic inspection of certain floor crossbeams for nominal thickness. Airbus has also issued Service Bulletin A320-53A1163, dated June 25, 2002, which describes procedures for reinforcement of crossbeams found not at nominal thickness. Accomplishment of the actions specified in the service bulletins is intended to adequately address the identified unsafe condition. The DGAC classified these service bulletins as mandatory and issued French airworthiness directive 2002-418(B), on August 7, 2002, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these airplanes in France.

FAA's Conclusions

These airplane models are manufactured in France and are type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of section 21.29 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.29) and the applicable bilateral airworthiness agreement. Pursuant to this bilateral airworthiness agreement, the DGAC has kept the FAA informed of the situation described above. The FAA has examined the findings of the DGAC, reviewed all available information, and determined that AD action is necessary for products of this type design that are certificated for operation in the United States.

Explanation of Requirements of Proposed Rule

Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other airplanes of the same type design registered in the United States, the proposed AD would require accomplishment of the actions specified in the applicable service bulletins described previously, except as described below.

Difference Between Proposed Rule and Referenced Service Bulletins

Operators should note that, although Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53A1162, including Appendix 01 and Appendix 02, dated June 25, 2002, describes procedures for submitting inspection results to the manufacturer, this proposed AD would not require that action.

Cost Impact

The FAA estimates that 25 airplanes of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD.

The ultrasonic inspection required by this proposed AD would take approximately 1 work hour per airplane to accomplish at an average labor rate of $65 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of this AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $1,625, or $65 per airplane.

The cost impact figures discussed above are based on assumptions that no operator has yet accomplished any of the proposed requirements of this AD action, and that no operator would accomplish those actions in the future if this AD were not adopted. The cost impact figures discussed in AD rulemaking actions represent only the time necessary to perform the specific actions actually required by the AD. These figures typically do not include incidental costs, such as the time required to gain access and close up, planning time, or time necessitated by other administrative actions.

Regulatory Impact

The regulations proposed herein would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, it is determined that this proposal would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this proposed regulation (1) is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under the DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979); and (3) if promulgated, will not have a significant economic impact, positive or negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. A copy of the draft regulatory evaluation prepared for this action is contained in the Rules Docket. A copy of it may be obtained by contacting the Rules Docket at the location provided under the caption ADDRESSES.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

End List of Subjects

The Proposed Amendment

Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) as follows:

Start Part

PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:

Start Authority

Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

End Authority
[Amended]

2. Section 39.13 is amended by adding the following new airworthiness directive:

Airbus: Docket 2002-NM-224-AD.

Applicability: This AD applies to the airplanes specified in Table 1 of this AD; certificated in any category.

Table 1

For modelManufacturer's Serial Number (MSN)Except for MSN
A320-211, -212, -214, -232, and -233 series airplanes1516 to 1754 inclusive1624, 1655, 1665, 1676, 1694, 1697, 1708, 1730, 1732 and 1736
A321-211, -231 and -232 series airplanes1572 to 1711 inclusive1675 and 1681

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent reduced structural integrity of the floor in the event of rapid depressurization or rapid vertical acceleration, accomplish the following:

Inspection

(a) Within 450 flight hours from the effective date of this AD, perform a one-time ultrasonic inspection of the specified floor crossbeams for nominal thickness, as defined in Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53A1162, including Appendix 01 and Appendix 02, as applicable, dated June 25, 2002. Do the inspection per the Accomplishment Instructions of the Service Bulletin.

(1) If both floor crossbeams are found to be at the nominal thickness, no further action is required by this AD. Start Printed Page 12598

(2) If any floor crossbeam is found to not be at the nominal thickness, within 50 flight hours after the inspection required by paragraph (a) of this AD, reinforce the crossbeam in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-53A1163, dated June 25, 2002, as applicable.

Difference Between Proposed Rule and Referenced Service Bulletins

(b) Although the service bulletins referenced in this AD specify to submit certain information to the manufacturer, this AD does not include such a requirement.

Alternative Methods of Compliance

(c) In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, is authorized to approve alternative methods of compliance for this AD.

Note 1:

The subject of this AD is addressed in French airworthiness directive 2002-418(B), dated August 7, 2002.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on March 10, 2004.

Kalene C. Yanamura,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 04-5968 Filed 3-16-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P